Horizontal cell dendrites invaginating the cone pedicles in the fish retina exhibit a marked light dependent plasticity in the morphology of their synaptic connections. Upon light adaptation of the retina, numerous spinules are formed which disappear during dark adaptation. This process is paralleled by a strengthening and weakening, respectively, of the horizontal cell's inhibitory output. The formation of spinules during light adaptation requires dopaminergic activity as it does not occur in dopamine-depleted retinas, but can be partially induced in depleted retinas by the exogenous administration of dopamine. Although horizontal cells do have D1 receptors the action of dopamine is not coupled to a stimulation of cAMP. An increase of intracellular cAMP either by injection of a cAMP analogue or by metabolic interference does not result in any spinule formation. The data suggest that dopamine must act through a cAMP independent intracellular mechanism.